Friday, December 18, 2009

It Really WAS the SEC Championship for Ingram

A commenter to my last post notes, quite correctly, that the Heisman for any given year should be made by comparing how players did within that year, and I agree.

By this metric, however, I think Ingram still falls short.

Ingram was 5th in rushing yardage this season. The top 10 running backs were –

1 Toby Gerhart, RB STAN 1736
2 Ryan Mathews, RB FRES 1664
3 Dion Lewis, RB PITT 1640
4 Donald Buckram, RB UTEP 1594
5 Mark Ingram, RB ALA 1542
6 Ryan Williams, RB VT 1538
7 LaMichael James, RB ORE 1476
8 Joe Webb, QB UAB 1427
9 John Clay, RB WIS 1396
10 Alfred Morris, RB FAU 1392

Of this list, however, only 1 player played 13 games – and that was Ingram (accounting for the SEC Championship).

If you take away the yardage from the Championship game, Ingram had 1429 which would have placed him 8th on this list.

On a yards-per game basis, Ingram is 8th in the nation –

1 Toby Gerhart, RB STAN 144.67
2 Ryan Mathews, RB FRES 138.67
3 Dion Lewis, RB PITT 136.67
4 Donald Buckram, RB UTEP 132.83
5 Ryan Williams, RB VT 128.17
6 LaMichael James, RB ORE 123.00
7 Joe Webb, QB UAB 118.92
8 Mark Ingram, RB ALA 118.62
9 John Clay, RB WIS 116.33
10 Alfred Morris, RB FAU 116.00

And, on a yards-per-carry basis, he is 11th –

1 Vai Taua, RB NEV 7.8
2 Colin Kaepernick, QB NEV 7.8
3 Luke Lippincott, RB NEV 7.7
4 LaMichael James, RB ORE 6.9
5 Lance Dunbar, RB UNT 6.9
6 Ryan Mathews, RB FRES 6.8
7 Joe Webb, QB UAB 6.3
8 Robert Turbin, RB USU 6.3
9 Curtis Steele, RB MEM 6.3
10 Donald Buckram, RB UTEP 6.2
11 Mark Ingram, RB ALA 6.2

If the Heisman is supposed to be for the “best” player in college football, the voters missed here. It is pretty apparent Ingram isn’t even the best running back.

Stanford’s Gerhart certainly has an argument for being the top running back. Also near the top statistically is Fresno’s Matthews, but his level of opposition might be questioned.

But what about Oregon’s LaMichael James, or Pitt’s Dion Lewis?

Both had more yards per game than Ingram, and Matthews had far more yards overall. And James had nearly 7 yards per carry.

Once again I like Mark Ingram. I just don’t get the award, whether the debate is about his stats this season, or about how he compares to running backs on a historic basis.

If not Ingram then, who?

Well, through clenched teeth, I would submit Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen.

The top 10 quarterbacks by passer rating this season were –

1 Kellen Moore, QB BSU 167.3
2 Jimmy Clausen, QB ND 161.4
3 Max Hall, QB BYU 160.9
4 Andy Dalton, QB TCU 159.6
5 Case Keenum, QB HOU 159.3
6 Ryan Mallett, QB ARK 157.9
7 Nathan Enderle, QB IDHO 155.8
8 Tim Tebow, QB FLA 155.6
9 Tony Pike, QB CIN 155.4
10 Dan LeFevour, QB CMU 154

I don’t believe Boise had the level of opposition that gives Moore serious consideration. But Notre Dame certainly did.

Clausen’s other stats are eye-opening –

Completion Percentage – 68% (6th best)
Yards – 3722 (3rd best)
TD’s – 28 (6th best)
Interceptions – 4

The interception figure is amazing. Clausen was sacked 24 times yet threw only 4 picks.

Sure Notre Dame went 6-6. Clausen kept them close in most games, and I’m guessing they would have gone 2-10 without him (still would have defeated Nevada and Washington State).

Finally, what does it say about the current state of the Notre Dame program when a quarterback who’s stats are comparable to the last 5 quarterback Heisman winners doesn’t get any serious Heisman consideration?


Clark said...

Yes, the level of competition that Moore saw wasn't as high as many other quarterbacks, but I still think it worth mentioning that he threw 39 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Sure, the WAC has its share of bad teams, and he apparently didn't face much pressure, as he was sacked only 5 times all year, but 13 touchdowns for every pick is pretty darn impressive.

All in all, maybe this year we could have not given out a Heisman, and hoped for two deserving candidates next year?

Mergz said...

I agree - Moore's numbers are outstanding. He was only sacked 5 times, which means either he has the world's best O line, he is very elusive, or the D's he faced weren't very good.

This was probably the year, if any, a D player should have gotten it. But the only one who got mentioned was Suh in the 11th hour based mainly on a single game. If the media would do a better job and promote worthy players of ALL positions from the beginning we might have better informed voters.

Robert said...

I'd argue that Mark Ingram won the Heisman not in the SEC Championship Game (although that certianly helped erase the memory of the week before) but in the Big 12 Championship Game when Colt McCoy not only laid an egg but another candidate from his region emerged to split the votes McCoy would have received.

Hogbody Spradlin said...


Nice spreadsheet work as always. Have you spent any time correlating Heisman winners and/or high vote getters with their team's ranking and play in the MNC picture?

Andrew said...

Where's the Heisman contestants vs. the defenses they faced? That's the stat that should be looked at. Gerhart didn't face a single team with a defense all season. McCoy faced two and was awful. Ingram faced a couple and had his best games. I think that is what it came down to.